Investment Advisor Impersonates Angel Investors to Get Clients
Kimberly Fontenot of Texas has been convicted of defrauding clients of her so-called investment advisory firm, Stellar Grants Inc. According to the FBI, Fontenot lured potential clients by falsely claiming to know numerous wealthy investors located throughout the United States. She offered access to these wealthy investors, whom she called her “angel investors,” to potential Stellar Grants clients in exchange for money. Specifically, Fontenot misrepresented that in exchange for money, she could put Stellar Grants clients in contact with the angel investors and would help them seek investments from the angel investors.
In addition to claiming personal and business relationships with them, Fontenot used the web-based e-mail services Yahoo.com and Gmail.com to create fake e-mail accounts in the names of the investors. She used these accounts to send e-mails to Stellar Grants clients, making it seem as if the e-mails were coming to and from the angel investors when, in reality, they were coming from Fontenot.
Fontenot also hired a voice actor to impersonate the angel investors or their representatives during telephone calls with Stellar Grants clients.
She also instructed the actor how to act and what to say during the calls. Fontenot then held fake conference calls in which she pretended to represent the Stellar Grants client and the voice actor pretended to be the angel investor or a representative of the angel investor, all in an attempt to justify the consulting fees paid by the Stellar Grants clients.
To avoid detection, Fontenot arranged for Stellar Grants clients or their representatives to sign “Master Consulting Agreements.” These agreements included a penalty clause that imposed heavy financial penalties if the clients contacted any of the angel investors.
U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa accepted Fontenot’s plea and has set sentencing for February 24, 2013. At that time, she faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 maximum fine or twice the pecuniary gain or loss. She was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
For further information about this securities law blog post, please contact Brenda Hamilton, Securities Attorney at 101 Plaza Real S, Suite 202 N, Boca Raton, Florida, (561) 416-8956, by email at [email protected] or visit www.securitieslawyer101.com. This securities law blog post is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Hamilton & Associates Law Group and should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal and compliance advice on any specific matter, nor does this message create an attorney-client relationship. Please note that the prior results discussed herein do not guarantee similar outcomes.
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